Thirty-four Congress legislators stayed put inside the Madhya Pradesh assembly for the second consecutive day on Wednesday but the government refused to blink in the face-off with the Opposition over compensation to farmers hit by rain and hailstorm.
The Congress had launched the unprecedented agitation inside the House on Tuesday demanding a compensation package for farmers whose crops were destroyed by freak weather earlier this month.
Political observers said the Congress’ stir was an extension of its tirade against the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government over the multi-layered PEB scam which has dominated the state’s political scene in recent times.
The Congress has, however, not linked the assembly agitation to the scam though AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh on Wednesday referred to the scandal while dismissing a pointed question put by cabinet spokesperson Narottam Mishra.
“He doesn’t know the technicalities involved in the matter. Therefore, he is asking superfluous questions,” Singh told newsmen outside the assembly premises.
Mishra had asked Singh why he had submitted a pen-drive both to the SIT and a forensic laboratory when the Congress leader had earlier claimed to have the hard disc containing an excel-sheet which allegedly has “proof” of Chouhan’s involvement in the scam.
With the government maintaining silence on the Congress demands, the leader of the Opposition in the state assembly Satyadev Katare announced that its MLAs would start a relay hunger strike from Thursday. A batch of seven MLAs would be on hunger strike on the first day, he said.
“The state government can evacuate us forcefully but we shall go to jail and continue our agitation,” Katare said.
Katare also expressed dismay that the chief minister had not responded to any of the demands raised by the party during his reply on the debate over the farmers’ issue.
Katare said they would not take a minute to end the strike if Chouhan acceded to the party’s demands.